Jim Harbaugh isn't short on options.
Not only is Harbaugh the hottest coaching candidate in the NFL right now, his alma mater, the University of Michigan, is weeks into their search for a new head coach and the Wolverines recently came to the table with a reported six-year, $49 million dollar contract offer.
While local and national reporters have clashed on this issue for weeks, one side reporting Harbaugh wasn't likely to take the Michigan position if offered, the other side brewing up a great deal of confidence that the former quarterback of the Wolverines was ready to return to Ann Arbor.
In the aftermath of the reported record deal offered by Michigan to Harbaugh, several national NFL writers have continued to dig into the situation, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter the latest.
In a story posted Friday afternoon, Schefter revealed his findings based on several apparent conversations with those closest to Harbaugh including family and friends, took a closer look at the options awaiting him should he remain in the NFL, and how the timeline could effect Michigan's plans the most.
"San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh's family and friends have been encouraging him to take the University of Michigan head-coaching job," Schefter wrote. "But he is torn because his heart is in the NFL, according to sources close to the situation."
Schefter would go on to say Harbaugh has an interest in first figuring out what NFL franchises could be in play, something Schefter noted his agent Dave Dunn, "has a good sense of realistic NFL options already."
Timing will of course be of more concern to Michigan than the NFL teams that will look to lure Harbaugh to their city. The 49ers season ends on Dec. 28 and Schefter reports Harbaugh plans to finish out the season in San Francisco, wrapping things up a day later on Dec. 29 before beginning to seriously consider any offers on the table.
The dead period for college football recruiting continues on until Jan. 15 with signing day quickly to follow on Feb. 4. With limited time to secure players already verbally committed to the Wolverines, not to mention the placing of phone calls and road trips to visit others, if Harbaugh wants Michigan a decision sooner than later would behoove both sides.
One intriguing part of Schefter's report Friday is his gage for the opinion of Harbaugh's wife, long reported she would prefer to stay on the west coast and in the bay area over any other place.
On that situation, Schefter wrote, "Harbaugh's wife also is said to be open and on board to him going back to Ann Arbor if that's what he wants, per sources."
Regardless of what shakes out over the next couple weeks, a decision from Harbaugh, or at the very least an answer for Michigan could very well come by the end of 2014.